This footage is from October 31, 2003.
I took advantage of having access to Tom Ammiano in person Friday to ask him about the other propositions on the ballot. What he said makes sense to me. I hope it will be helpful to you in making your decisions about tomorrow's elections.
Lisa: "E. It just says "ethics reform."
Tom: "Oh. This is good. I sponsored this with the Ethics Commission. Basically, it's about conflict of interest. A lot of times, people will be in city government such as a department head, or a commissioner, or the mayor, or a supervisor, and then they no longer do that. But, because their faces are recognizable. Because the juice is still there, even though they're gone, they have undue influence on decision making, and they also get more access, and they can also bring people in. So this really tightens that and says if you were a mayor or supervisor or commissioner or department head or have been involved in any way on that level, you can not come back and lobby for issues. In otherwords, giving you an insider's advantage. If we're really gonna have honesty in government, we need a lot of campaign reform and we need a lot of ethics reform. And Prop E addresses that, and I think it's great. We should be very proud of it."
Lisa: "Can you give an example of when that kind of thing happens?"
Tom: "Well let's say Mayor Willie Brown will, after 8 years, no longer be the Mayor, but he certainly will have juice with certain commissioners because he appointed them, and their term goes beyond his. And so it wouldn't be (can't make out exact word) of him currently to give them a call and say 'I want to introduce you to this developer' etc. and so forth. There's been a number of supervisors, Michael Yahi comes to mind, who, after they were not voted back in office, you start to see them in the halls, using some of the connections they had with the different departments to lobby for certain issues."
Lisa: "So it would make that illegal?"
Lisa: "Isn't that just going to drive it 'behind close doors' so to speak?"
Tom: "No, actually, it's going to flush it out. This comes on the heels of the disclosure and the Sunshine that we also sponsored. So, some people would say 'alright, I will disclose that I, as a previous supervisor, went and talked to so and so. So what?' So alright fine, now you disclose it, and now we say because of the position that you held before, it's a conflict of interest defined by the State, and particularly by San Francisco, in a very stringent manner. You can't do it. But the average citizen should be able to come in and have the same kind of access that you're trying to say you have because you used to be a super or mayor. So it really does level that playing field."
Posted by Lisa at November 03, 2003 05:05 PM